Miriam Ruiz
random thoughts on technology and life

{April 29, 2008}   MAGIC: More Active Girls In Computing

Ira Pramanick talks in her weblog about a mentorship program targeted towards middle and high school girls to foster in them a positive attitude towards computing. The program is called MAGIC, which stands for More Active Girls In Computing, and tries to address the issue of the low number of girls entering the computing and high tech world.

As they say, it is a serious issue caused not by then lack of talent, but due to a bunch of discouraging factors that exist in our culture and society. Right now, women represent only about 28% of the technology workforce. I don’t know if a mentorship program dedicated to these girls would be enough to increase the number of women participating in the technology workforce, but it will probably help to improve the situation. It would be nice to import the project model into Spanish speaking countries if it’s successful.

The Mentor Qualification Process is quite strange anyway. It might be that we europeans have cultural differences, but I find some of the questions there quite disturbing, like “Are you willing to be finger-printed and screened?”. I don’t exactly know what they might want such a sensitive data for.

Anonymous says:

Can you point to a good source documenting the “plethora of discouraging factors that exist in our society today”? Too many of these programs and sites seem to assume that everyone already knows and agrees about these factors. I personally recognize the existence of a problem based on the statistics (28%), and I agree that talent has nothing to do with that. However, I don’t know the underlying causes of this problem. The few times I’ve heard attempted explanations of the causes, either the explanation didn’t make sense or it had a fairly high degree of bias.

Runa says:

I also like “Will you be able to pay up to $50 for the finger-print screening?” ;)

Anonymous says:

If the mentors work with students in U.S. public schools, those requirements likely come directly from U.S. government regulations, and the information likely gets used for a background check.

Miry says:

Thanks Anonymous, it makes sense then. I guess things might work differently in U.S. than in Europe then. It’s not a big deal anyway, as every Spanish citizen must have their fingerprints taken for their ID, and the ID is mandatory. I was just curious about it :)

I’ll try to go through some of the reasons behind the problem in a newer weblog entry when I have some time, thanks for the suggestion. I don’t have time for it right now, I just thought that everyone was familiar with the reasons, but you’re right, a bit more information might be better.

Anonymous says:

“It’s not a big deal anyway, as every Spanish citizen must have their fingerprints taken for their ID, and the ID is mandatory.”

Wow. And here I thought the U.S. seemed invasive.

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